Monday, 31 March 2014

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

This post contains a review and a bookish manicure.



Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3) by Laini Taylor
Published April 8, 2014 by Hachette AU
Source: the publisher via Netgalley
Rating: 5 stars

From the blurb: By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.
Common enemy, common cause.
When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.
And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.
But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.
What power can bruise the sky?
From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theatre that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy. 
At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

Well, where do I start? Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor, the final instalment in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, is epic. It covers a lot of ground: multiple worlds (ours and Eretz), multiple timelines, and introduces new characters, too.

The story picks up right where Days of Blood and Starlight left us, Jael and his Dominion army have invaded Earth, currently they are residing in Rome and awaiting offers of weapons from humans. Karou and Akiva have convinced the remaining chimarera and the Misbegotten to join forces against Jael, though this plan is not without problems. And we’re also introduced to Eliza Jones, a twenty-four year old doctoral student. She’s tried to escape her past but has been haunted by a dream, a dream involving beasts, and now fate has drawn her into the events about to unfold.

Laini Taylor is a master at weaving multiple plot lines and character perspectives in a seamless way. Yes, the story largely revolves around Karou and Akiva, and I love any time we get to spend with them, but I was never bored by the alternative perspectives because they make the story whole. Eliza was particularly intriguing; as were the Stelians, lead by Queen Scarab. The Stelians are hunting whoever is causing the sky to bruise.

There is a lot of character growth in this book, just like in the previous two. The characters are never static, nor are they flat. This time it is Akiva, not Karou, who is feeling guilt at being alive when so many are dead. He’s finding more use for his magic, but also finding it hard to control. Liraz’s growth was the most heart-warming to me, that girl made me teary on multiple occasions and so proud… and that’s all I say about that! Zuze and Mik are also featured a lot and almost steal the show! Mik in particular really shines during this book and I'm really happy with how they've been used in this series.

Speaking of being proud, I felt it so often during this story. Proud of two warring races coming together, despite years of hatred. Proud of characters overcoming their fears, of them putting others first. There were so many sad, sorrowful moments in this book, but they were perfectly balanced by the sweet, hopeful moments. I got quite teary and cried a lot towards the end.

I spent most of the book on edge, but the last hundred pages or so were quite torturous. Mind you, I was never worried that Laini Taylor couldn't pull off an epic ending, she clearly has an imagination that Anne Shirley would be proud of, I was just worried about who might get sacrificed along the way. I was so happy with the conclusion and the way everything was woven together. It’s a world that is trying to rebuild and is now filled with hope, but that felt realistic.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters really is the perfect end to what is a brilliant series. I guarantee your heart, like Karou’s, will be pulled to pieces by the end of it, but it will be totally worth it.

Thank you to the fantastic people at Hachette for my review copy via Netgalley.


Seeing as I've done nails to match Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight, I figured I should round things out and do nails to match this final book!


I decided to do a layered manicure to mimic the depth of the birds in the sky and the flared circles. I started with 2 coats of Ulta3 Soft Hydrangea and then sponged a bit of Ulta3 Blue Marlin onto the tips.

I used acrylic paint for the birds and for the circles. With the circles, I dotted on some watered down paint, waited a minute, then sucked up the excess water using paper towel, leaving behind a circle or a ring depending on the result.


Now comes the layering! I took a spare bottle of clear top coat and added about 30 drops of Ulta3 Blue Marlin to create a very sheer blue polish. I gave it a good shake to combine and then painted 1 coat over each nail. Once this dried I painted on more birds, did more cirlcles, then followed that with another layer of my sheer blue polish. Once dry I added top coat.




36 comments:

  1. First off - and yet again - those nails are SO PRETTY. I wish I could do it.

    Anyway, I'm so glad you enjoyed this final installment, Mandee! I adored the first and second books in this series and I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed that I love this conclusion as well. It seems absolutely stunning (as can be expected from Laini Taylor), but I'm glad your review confirms that. I know the release date is just around the corner, but I still can't wait for long. Fantastic review, Mands!(:

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    1. I am sure you will love it, Keer! And thank you!

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  2. I love how mystical and mysterious the cover looks. It looks great as a mani on your nails too.

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  3. OMG those birds are so pretty!!! You have great artistic skills, and you've inspired my a lot with my nail care and manicures. Really, I'm trying to give up the nasty habit of bitting my nails and cuticles :)

    I have to admit I decided to wait until Dreams of Gods and Monsters was published in order to read book #2, Days of Blood and Starlight. Second books in trilogies have caused me great amounts of frustration by the whole waiting period. Unless they are huge series, like Game of Thrones or Chicagoland Vampires, where I can slowly read - pause - read.

    Great review and keep doing those lovely nail arts inspired by book covers!

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    1. Good luck with the nail care and non-biting! I've never been a nail biter, so I have no tips :)

      I think it was a clever idea to wait to read the final 2 books together. I have really enjoyed reading them one after the other!

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  4. Gorgeous nails as always. I am so jelly that you got an ARC of this. They are unheard of the US. I am on pins and needles waiting to read this, but I am so happy that you loved it and that it ended well.

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    1. I know, for some reason it was only the Aus publisher than did eARCs!

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  5. Love this mani! I think you translated the cover onto your nails really well especially the glowy parts :)

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  6. I am so jealous that you got this book read already. I keep checking my library to put it on hold and they haven't listed it yet. Sucks. I am glad too to see you were impressed by the ending. So glad this is a series that ends well! Love your nails too... really pretty what you did!

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  7. Love the nails! The birds look perfect. I haven't read this series myself but I'm happy it was such a brilliant conclusion to the series that fans will enjoy =)

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  8. Wow, that sounds like a lot for your nails but it looks AMAZING. I haven't read these books, but I'm happy to hear the finale was great. I do want to check them out.

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    1. Haha, it was a bit of a process, but fun, too!

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  9. I really want to start Daughter of Smoke and Bone because so much hype is surrounding it. May I ask...how many times would you have to redo your nails??? At least you don't get bored.

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    1. Re-do as in when I make mistakes? Or how often do I paint them?

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  10. wow! perfect manicure! birds are perfect:)

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  11. I'm in love with this series - can't wait to read this book... :D
    As always - I'm blown away by your skill with the manicures. The birds are cute and a nice match to the cover :)

    Kate @ Fictional Thoughts

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    1. I think you'll love this book, Kate! And thanks so much!

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  12. I need to read the first two books, so I can't read your review yet, but those birds!! I'm so in love with this manicure. You are one talented lady!

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  13. I tried reading the first book in this series about two years ago but just didn't feel it was right for me, but I'm glad to see you like all the books! I checked out the nails you did for each and my favourite is for the first- those feathers are just magical!

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  14. OK. so I skimmed to the end because I didn't want to spoil anything but I am so glad you said it was the perfect ending!
    Also, those nails are amazeballs, I seriously thought they had to be stickers or something!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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    1. Yes, PERFECT! I know you will love it, Missie :)

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  15. I won't be reading your review just yet - I want to read this series really bad. My girls loved first novel and I waited for second one to be published because I hate waiting.
    But, I love your nails - so cute.

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    1. YES! Get all three books and read them one after the other, you will LOVE them!

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  16. I skimmed over the summary bits of the review since I've not read the second book yet, but I'm so glad to see the final book was such a great read for you! Laini Taylor's creativity really is just astounding! :) Great review, and your nails are seriously gorgeous!

    Rachel @ Paper Cuts

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  17. Can I just say how much I love those nails?!? THEY ARE FABULOUS! I would love to have my nails look like that. I love the birds!! I haven't read these books yet so I mostly skimmed to the end of your review but I am glad you enjoyed this one! So many people love this author and I really want to get the first book. I'm so curious about her writing because everyone says it's very unique. :)

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  18. I continue to be in awe of your bookish nails! I can't believe the incredible detail and colors you are able to fit in such a small space. I'm already bouncing up and down excited for book three, I absolutely adored the first two, and your review has me even more excited now. I love this --> "I was never worried that Laini Taylor couldn't pull off an epic ending, she clearly has an imagination that Anne Shirley would be proud of" :-) Fab review!

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  19. Ooh look at you- already read and reviewed one of the most highly anticipated books of the year! And can I say that book cover is stunning as are your nails.You are so talented! I love birds and that shade of blue.

    I am one book behind in this series so I could only skim your review, but I'm thrilled to see your 5-star rating! I just know this book will tear my heart out.

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  20. Love this manicure. I 100% need to re-read the first book and get to reading the rest of this series. So glad that you loved this one!

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  21. Those birds are FANTASTIC. You have done such a brilliant job. I did read your review, but not having read the books it didn't mean a whole lot to me, which is why I'm only commenting on your nails. But they're pretty damn super awesome so worthy of the comment I feel.

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Hi, hi, hi!
Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment.
My priority is to return comments on YOUR blogs because I know how much a comment can make someone's day!
If I have time I will also try to comment back on my blog.
Mands xox